Additional Photos After Testimony
4824 cdd A Better Plan
Cyber Daily Devotion
Volume 20 Number 068
Today’s Author: Pastor Bill
Hello, my name is Reverend Moss Ntlha with Ebenezer Bible Church, Randfontein South, South Africa. Everyone calls me Bra Moss. I was born just north of here in Randfontein, youngest of eight children. Dad was a gold miner and mom was a domestic worker. We were a church family, but I chose to avoid church every chance I got.
I was a very good student and a responsible young man but going to church did not make sense to me. Dad and mom provided for me to go to a boarding school in the Capital City of Pretoria.
Just before completing high school, a Scripture Union representative visited our school. His message was simple and direct. He spoke of Jesus Christ as a real person who wanted a personal relationship with me. It was the first time I understood that Jesus died for me, and that He loved me and considered me important to Him. I had never heard that. For two weeks I struggled with that word from the Lord as the Holy Spirit poured into my life. I asked one of the believers on Campus, “How can I be born again as described in the Bible?” He opened his Bible to Revelation 3:21, “Behold I stand at the door and knock…” I went home to my dorm that night kneeling down I surrendered all to Jesus. In a flash it was as if a heavy load and despair was released from my body.
Someone gave me Gideon New Testament. It was a treasure to behold as I read every word in the pages. The more I read the more I wanted to know. The Holy Spirit awoke in me a sensitivity to sin and enabled me to resist it, with the support of fellow believers.
Then as I graduated from high school, I desired to become an engineer. I applied at University and my application came back denied. I was crushed. I had great grades and my leadership skills were impeccable. The application rejection was simple. “No Blacks Allowed”. It was a rejection that would shape my future in ways I never could have imagined.
I went to a blacks only university, which by government policy, offered no Engineering studies. There I completed a Natural Science degree. I was moving closer to Jesus deepening in discipleship, especially with regard to what the Cross meant to oppressed people like me around the world: it was a source of freedom from sin, and an inspiration to resist the work of Satan wherever it manifested. In my case, it manifested in the system of apartheid that denied millions of black people their sense of person hood and God given dignity as people made in the image of God.
The mid 1980’s and in South Africa were years of heightened turmoil and conflict. It was the dying years of apartheid, where conflict was, on the one hand, a government intent on prolonging the suffering of millions, and on the other, ordinary people like me determined to end oppression.
A big discipleship question for many of us was: where to locate Jesus in a context like that? Indeed, apartheid as a system, built with a fair dose of Christian theology, won many, especially white Christians who were beneficiaries of the system, to come to its defense. On the other side, the majority of black bible believing Christians suspected that the Jesus of scripture was more likely to be found among those who suffered injustice. He stood, after all in the tradition of the prophets of old, having quoted Isaiah 61 at the very beginning of His ministry.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound…
I felt personally called and drawn to this prophetic evangelical tradition.
In 1983, after much prayer about who would partner with me in my ever growing desire to see the poor hear the good news of the Saviour, I met Khumo. An incredible woman who loved Jesus, hated apartheid, and poured her life into seeing it end. It was love at first sight, and we were married in March 1986. Thirty three years on, she remains my beloved partner and fellow soldier in the faith.
Together we have invested in church planting. We came to the conclusion, after the first church plant, which was rather unplanned and took us by surprise, that there was nothing as hope giving to the poor as a living personal relationship with Jesus Christ and, along with Him, to spread the message of hope to others. We met in homes and school halls, and by God’s grace, we had a property donated to us by one of our members. It is now our operational base from which we are trusting God for a gospel impact into our community.
Fourteen years ago, a preacher visited us and told of how the Lord would use us in the future. He spoke specifically about the Cross. The Cross that would one day be a gift and be planted here at the church. Pastors Bill and Carol thank you for coming all the way from America and for your readers for giving us this Cross. We have been waiting a long time for the fulfillment of this prophecy.
My favorite times as a pastor are rooted around interaction with our people. Visiting, Discipleship, Coaching and Fathering as we continue to lead people to Christ. We raise disciples and leaders as well as seeing transformation in our local community as believers put their faith to work in the community and further afield.
We have learned over the years that Jesus heals. We have seen cancer healings, brain tumors disappear, and relationships rebuilt. But the best part is when we see church members go out into the streets and malls to share the gospel and pray for the needy and sick. They come back with remarkable healing miracles and testimonies of life change. We love to see God’s generous outpouring of the Spirit to sons and daughters, a sort of democratizing of access and Kingdom participation in the service of the King. It is a marvelous culture of the priesthood of all believers.
Let me share one traditional healing story. One young lady gave her life to Christ which set her apart from her family’s traditional ancestor worship. She was only about 13 years old when her father, steeped in African traditional religious practice, wanted to have a Witch doctor fortify all his children against all manner of possible witchcraft attacks, a normal practice in many African households.
He called the family together for the ceremony and this young lady refused telling everyone she accepted Jesus Christ as Lord in her life. The father was unhappy and met with the Witch doctor. The Witch doctor asked him to bring a piece of clothing for him to use for the ritual since she would not be present. Part of traditional worship involves throwing bones, to invoke the presence of the ancestors and inquire from them. When the Witch doctor threw the bones over the dress brought by the father, he saw a ring of holy fire around the dress, as if to protect it! The Witch doctor was stunned, and explained to the father what he saw.
The Witch doctor thought maybe a different piece of clothing would yield a different result. “Bring her shoes to me”, he said. The shoes were brought forward and once again the bones were thrown. Again a ring of fire formed an impenetrable barrier, signaling that a bigger power protected the owner of these clothes. The father and the Witch doctor decided that maybe the young lady was safe enough as she is. So they left her alone.
When I think about the Cross two things stand out. First, the amazing love of God that He would do all this for you and me despite all we have done. Think about what happened to Him in the final hours before His capture and execution. The 12 apostles of the faith, our best representatives as the church of Jesus Christ, betrayed Him. Judas sold Him out. Peter denied Him. The rest simply fled. He cut a lonely figure as he took His final walk to His execution site at Golgotha. None of us can claim to have even lifted a finger to help Him pull this redemption program through. Yet when He rose from the grave He stood with Peter and rather than chastise him for denying Him, embraced him and trusted him with a sacred duty: “Feed my sheep.” In spite of our shameful ways, Jesus caught the bullet for each one of us, and extends the same forgiveness to us, and invites us to participate in the most worthy cause in history.
And secondly, the Cross reminds us that it is poor reasoning to suppose that human suffering implies that God does not love us. God loved His Son, and said as much when John the Baptist baptized Him: “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased”.
We used to think that the God who allowed apartheid to be unleashed on us could not possibly love us. Now we know that human suffering is almost always caused by human sin and rebellion from the will of God. People suffer often because of the sin of others, or their own sin.
When people pass by our church, I’d like this Cross to remind them that Jesus thinks they are to die for! I ask the Holy Spirit to disclose this truth to their hearts, and start them on a journey of being followers of Christ.
Prayer: Father thank you for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and the Life of Jesus that transcends any situation and establishes His Love because under the Cross you will find Jesus, and Jesus has a better plan. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!